How we care for your car
What happens to your car when it’s left in airport parking?
Do you know what happens to your car when you use a
meet & greet airport parking?
Every summer there are horror stories of holidaymakers
who handed over their keys to a meet & greet driver, only
to return home and find out their car was left in a muddy
field or on town streets – hardly the secure parking option
they imagined they were paying for.
Thankfully, instances of rogue parking companies leaving
cars in unsecure locations are rare and there are some
simple steps travellers can take to ensure their car is
Cars on camera
The easiest of these is to book their parking with a company that belongs to the Independent Airport Parking Association (IAPA). Members handle more than one million cars every year and follow strict procedures to ensure cars are handled with care.
Whether using a meet & greet or park & ride service, every car is photographed from multiple angles by high definition cameras. This might be done automatically as the customer drives through a camera tunnel, or manually when their car is handed over to a meet & greet driver.
“When a customer collects their car after their holiday one of the first things most do is to check for damage,” says Nick Caunter, MD of APH. “This will often be the first time they’ve looked around their car for a long time, and in most instances any scuffs and scratches they spot were there before the car was parked.
“Damage to cars at an airport parking facility is very rare and having high quality pictures on file helps us to investigate any complaints quickly and transparently.”
The overall complaints ratio for IAPA members is below one percent, with most companies receiving a customer approval rating well above 90 per cent, as measured by different independent services.
Fully licensed drivers
Once cars have been handed over to the parking company, details of the vehicle are logged digitally so that information about every movement in the car park is recorded.
IAPA members only use fully licensed drivers to park cars, which are then organized by return date and time. As Derek Gaynor, MD of Highwayman Parking at Cardiff Airport notes, an early return can cause a headache for the parking company: “Our logging system works so well that cars are organized so they don’t need to be moved until a customer returns. If that person comes back early, perhaps from a business trip, it may mean moving a large number of cars to make theirs available again.”
When cars have been parked, it is rare for them to be moved before the customer’s return. “Less movement equals less risk, so we prefer not to move cars until their collection date,” says Derek Gaynor.
During the parking period, customer keys are stored in secure containers that are vetted by police experts as part of their Park Mark Safer Parking assessment, which all IAPA member car parks are subject to.
The Park Mark Safer Parking Scheme is a Police Crime Prevention Initiative to assess all types of car parks to ensure that they are properly managed and maintained. All car parks run by IAPA members have the Park Mark award, with security features including fencing, CCTV and staff on site 24 hours of the day.
Security is of utmost importance says Andrew Bird, of Airparks: “Our off-site airport parking facilities are not open to the public, they are surrounded by fencing and cameras, our teams are parking cars 24/7 and we audit every car to ensure it is locked.”
For most cars, the first time they will be moved again is a few hours before they are due to be collected, when they are relocated to an arrivals ready for the customer’s return.
Nick Caunter, MD of APH says: “When customers book their airport parking with a member of IAPA they are buying in to a secure process that ensures their car is cared for while they are away. If they book with a company that doesn’t offer the same assurances, they have no idea where their car will be left while they’re on their break away.
“For airport parking peace of mind, our advice is to look for the IAPA logo.”